How the Quadratic Formula would look if the IRS handled it

1. Have you ever filled out your own taxes, using the IRS forms?   ___ Yes    ___ No

2. Do you remember learning about the quadratic formula in Algebra class?  ___ Yes  ___ No

3. If the answer to both of the previous question is YES, then go to the following website, where someone shows how the Internal Revenue Service would treat the Quadratic Formula. (The one that says if you have an equation of the form


Well, here is how one person re-wrote this as instructions and worksheet for an Internal Revenue Service form QF:

A good exercise would be to figure out whether they got it right or not.

Remember that if the discriminant is negative, you get imaginary or complex roots (answers). Where is that part?

On what line is the discriminant actually computed?

One of the ironic things about this little joke is that it’s actually rather serious. If you, as an algebra student, want to write a little program so that your calculator can do the tedious work of computing the decimal approximations of the values of the quadratic formula, then you have to go through very nearly the same steps that Daniel Velleman did (the fellow who apparently made up this joke).

I found the joke at after it was pointed out to me by John S.

Published in: on September 18, 2011 at 7:10 pm  Leave a Comment  

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